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Jira Is Not The Problem, It's Your Process.
The tool does exactly what you configure it to do.
A lot of people complain about Atlassian Jira. They claim it is too complex, hard to understand, and generally a pain to use.
Yes, Jira can be configured for processes that are beyond comprehension. But that is a case for Jira, not against it.
But first, let's enjoy some opinions:
And finally this website full of negative quotes: https://ifuckinghatejira.com/
The Real Problem
Trust me: The real problem is not Jira. The real problem is your process. Let's take a look:
There are too many fields to fill in when you create an issue ▶️ That's because your project admin configured it that way. Why did they do it that way? They can simply remove fields from the screen, or make them optional.
The process is a pain because it's too rigid ▶️ That's because your project admin configured it that way. Why did they do it that way? They can simply create an easier workflow. This makes your organization lean and agile, at least compared to more complex workflows.
I cannot find my issue fast enough ▶️ That's (partly) because your project manager hasn't archived old issues. This time, there are good reasons not to archive too early. But even if you have a huge number of issues: Would you find them in any other tool or setup? It's not Jira's fault that you have 8,365 issues (and I've seen systems with more than 30,000 issues).
The work is so fine-grained that it is easy to micromanage and easy to set up performance monitoring ▶️ That's because someone set up the work process that way. Why did they do it that way? In fact, this is one of the more sophisticated concerns. However, Jira does not force you to create all these issues and subtasks. If you prefer to use high-level stories, just use high-level stories. The tool won't stop you.
Get the next issue straight to your inbox! ⬇️
I suggest the following solutions:
Design the process on paper. If it's too complex, you'll notice it much more easily than on a computer screen.
Work on a physical whiteboard first, then build the same practices in Jira without adding anything else. If you add something, it should be something the team was really missing before Jira.
Treat people like responsible adults. Don't force them to follow rigid processes. They know what they are doing, and if they are cheating the process, the problem is somewhere else.
Consciously try to make everything as simple as possible.
Before you start to use any other tool, ask yourself if the tool is really the problem.
What I read
This is separate section of this newsletter. I will list some of the best articles I read on the internet. They may or may not be related to the topic of this article. I will keep a list of the best articles (currently >650) at https://www.digital-product-management.com. These are today’s picks:
Ultimate guide to Product Discovery Techniques: An incredibly comprehensive overview of all relevant discovery methods.
Project Planning 101: The Power of Sprint Zero Simplified: How to implement this stage right to create a more value driven planning effort.
Tips for Writing Upwards: Practical tips to help product managers be better writers and communicators.